To Train or Not To Train That is the Question

August 10, 2011 - Leave a Response

Well, it SHOULDN’T be the question!!!!  There should be NO question about it!  TRAIN!!!

 

I’ve been doing this stuff for almost 30 years – between being a vet nurse and an animal control officer – and I’ve seen the results of untrained dogs time and time again.  I’d say a good 95% or more of dogs in pounds are there for correctable behavioral issues.  And sadly, most end up euthanized.

 

Un-trained dogs end up as nightmares.  Un-trained dogs end up as biting, running, barking, behavior nightmares.  Dogs, just as kids, need boundaries set immediately.  Even the abused and neglected dogs are BEGGING to be given boundaries.  They’re guidelines for them.  They give them comfort, actually.  Knowing what is ok and what isn’t is exactly what dogs need.  They look up to us, as owners (or leaders) to tell them what makes us happy.  They only want to please us.

 

So what KIND of training works?  It depends on the dog.  Some do well with gentle reminders and some need to be sat on more firmly.  I have one that only needs “a look” to know he’s messed up.  I have another one that needs outright correction to understand (NEVER hit your dog!)…  Dogs learn at different rates but ALL can be taught, no matter the age or background.

 

So long and short of it – GET THAT DOG TRAINED!  It will be the BEST thing you’ve EVER done for BOTH of you!

The Humane Society of the United States Offers Tips for a Safe Fourth of July for Your Pets

July 5, 2011 - Leave a Response

WASHINGTON (June 27, 2011) — The nation’s largest animal protection organization, The Humane Society of the United States, reminds Americans that our beloved pets can become distressed by the additional noise and commotion involved with the Independence Day holiday.

In fact, animal shelters across the country are accustomed to receiving “July 4th” dogs—dogs who run off during fireworks celebrations and are rescued by animal control officers or good Samaritans who take them to the safety of a local shelter.

“Pets are family members, and it’s understandable that people want to include them in their holiday plans,” said Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets at Risk program for The HSUS. “However, most pets will be more comfortable staying at home. Spare our furry friends the stress of fireworks, crowds and fanfare on the Fourth of July, and for everyone, we wish you a safe and fun Independence Day.”

Fortunately, you can prevent pet problems on Independence Day simply by planning ahead and taking some basic precautions:

·         Leave them at home

There are many family and group activities that are perfect for pets, but a public fireworks display or a picnic, cookout or any other type of gathering where fireworks will be set off  isn’t one of them – please resist the urge to take your pets to such an event.

·         Don’t leave your pet in the car

With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects—even death—in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.

·         Give them shelter

Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you’ve removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him company while you’re attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations.

·         Keep it quiet

If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays. The HSUS has calming products for sale at its online store, Humane Domain.

  • Pay attention

Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.

·         Tag ‘Em

Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.

Summer Reminder To Keep Pets Safe

May 30, 2011 - Leave a Response

Ok, it’s official – it’s summer.  So here are some reminders to keep your pets safe…

 

  1. NEVER leave a pet in a car.  EVER.  I don’t care if the windows are cracked. It’s still TOO warm.  Try it yourself and see how long you can last with a fur coat on.   This is especially true on pavement, which heats up aLOT.

 

  1. Be careful of grills!  Food up there is tempting even after it’s been cooked and removed.  Dogs tend to be very curious and can try to get up there to see what smells so good, resulting in burns.

 

  1. Bugs BUG…!  Those little black gnats bite ears and bellies and anywhere the fur is short and light, so don’t leave the dogs out.  The bugs are as annoying to them as they are to you!  Remember, too, that mosquito season is going to be huge this year due to a rainy spring….and mosquitoes carry heartworm….

 

  1. Didja note that it’s HOT out?  So did your pets!  And the older (or younger) they are, the less they’re able to tolerate the heat, so keep them in, in the air conditioning!  Ever see how they’ll just lie there with a smile on their faces when they’re in a cool, air conditioned room?  Didja get the hint???

 

  1. WATER ME!!  Pets get dehydrated just like we do.  ALWAYS keep water clean, cool and handy for them.

 

  1. Wanna go for a walk?  Not during the heat of the day, thank you very much!  Remember that pavement gets HOT very quickly and stays hot even late in the day and the pads of your pooch can (and DO) get burned!  Rule of thumb – If it’s too hot for YOUR piggies on the pavement, it’s too hot for THEIR piggies….

April Is Animal Cruelty Awareness Month

April 11, 2011 - Leave a Response

You see it all the time, but may not recognize it.  Animal cruelty.  It can be as simple as neglecting to properly care for a pet or it can be as obvious as beating a pet.

 

April is Animal Cruelty Awareness Month and the SPCA is hoping to educate so that animal cruelty can be a thing of the past.

 

Now, that having been said, it’s easier to help than you might think.  If you see what you think might be an act of cruelty, call your animal control officer immediately!  You do not have to leave your name but it always helps, in case there are questions that need to be asked.

 

The State of CT says that animal cruelty boils down to a few things:

 

  1. Not providing proper medical attention when needed – This not only applies to obvious injury but also to chronic issues as well.  The owner may not realize that failing to treat the problem can be an act of cruelty if it causes the pet pain.

 

  1. Not providing the pet clean air, water, shelter and food.  Having a pet means taking responsibility for that animal.  If you would not drink the water you have down for your pet, it’s time to clean it up.  Same goes for housing, etc.  If it causes your pet to be exposed to the elements or if it is living in disgusting conditions (horses in their own waste, etc) it can be considered cruelty.  Keeping an animal in a locked car in the heat is also considered cruelty.

 

  1. Deliberately causing pain or injury to an animal.  Now this is an obvious one.

 

There are other forms of cruelty, too, that may not be so obvious.  Physical abuse is an obvious form but so is psychological abuse.  Kids tormenting an animal without even touching it can be considered abuse as well.

 

If you see something or hear of a situation that makes you cringe, CALL YOUR ANIMAL CONTROL!

 

On another note, Bandit’s Place has taken in a puppy that we understand was kicked by a former owner.  The surgery to repair this dog’s badly broken leg will be approximately $2,000.00.  Bandit’s Place has opened what’s called a “chip in” so that monetary donations can be made and put towards the medical costs for this puppy.  If you’d like to help, please visit the Bandit’s Place Facebook page!  Donations can also be made by sending a check or money order to our office.  Feel free to call 860-653-0558.

When Adopting, What About The Pet’s Background?

March 31, 2011 - Leave a Response

Dear Liz – I’ve heard that adopting from a shelter is a wonderful thing but my concern is that you never know the background of the dog.  What are your thoughts?

Signed, Curious in Cromwell

Dear Curious:

That’s always a good question!  I will say, though, that sometimes when an owner turns in a dog they are not completely honest about WHY they’re turning the dog in.

If everyone who says they’re suddenly allergic actually WAS allergic I’d say we have a definite health epidemic going on!

A dog that bites is a HUGE reason for turning it in and again, SOME owners will not disclose this little tidbit, leaving the new adopter wide open for a nasty experience.

Not being housebroken is also a very big reason – especially with little dogs.  This, however, is a more easily dealt with issue.

Owners needing to place the dog NOW can sometimes be less truthful in an attempt to get the dog out of their home so be aware of this.

Now, that is not to say that ALL owners needing to place their dogs will be less than truthful so don’t get me wrong on that one.

A good suggestion is to ask the owner for the veterinarian’s name that treats it.  Then CALL the vet and ask if there are any behavioral concerns.  Checking with the animal control officer can also be very helpful in determining past bad behavior.

Dogs that are found abandoned can come with their own set of issues, but hopefully the shelter placing the dog has done some sort of temperament testing so if you are considering a shelter dog, ASK the shelter if this has been done.  I know we’ll never know for sure what a dog will or will not react to, but a good shelter has a pretty good idea of the dog’s personality and where it would best be placed.

Use your gut, too, in determining the reliability of the shelter you’re dealing with.  Ask as many questions about the dog as you need to and don’t act on impulse or be pressured into taking any dog.

So I hope that helps!  I know it’s not a clear cut answer, but I’m not sure there ever is!

Is It Too Early To Start Flea & Tick Prevention?

March 18, 2011 - Leave a Response

Dear Liz – Is it too early to start flea and tick prevention for our pets?  I’ve already seen bugs out there!

Signed, Scratching in Southington

Dear Scratching – It’s never too early!!!   With the thawing going on hot and heavy now, it’s time to get that protection ON!  And I’m not just talking about fleas and ticks.

 

Mosquitoes will soon be hatching (if they’re not already) and that means heartworm transmission.  Any time there is standing water, the right temperature and mosquito larvae, those pesky boogers will be flying about and spreading heartworm where ever they can.

 

It takes 6 months for heartworm to actually be developed enough to show up in a test, so getting your pet (dogs AND cats) protected now is extremely important.

 

For those of you using heartworm prevention, make sure you’re up to date with it. I can tell you from experience that treating heartworm in dogs is VERY expensive and very painful for your pet.  It’s not treatable in cats, so make sure your cat is on prevention!

 

There is that new Vectra 3-D out, too – It’s applied just like flea prevention products (between the shoulder blades) but it also wards off mosquitoes, which is a great thing!

 

Remember, too, that gnats will soon be out and about as well so protect your dog’s ears as well!  Those nasty little black bugs will bite when they can and leave very uncomfortable welts!
If you, like me, don’t like to put multiple products on your pets, check with your vet to see if there is one product that can cover most of the little buggers.  Or check into natural products that might help as well, with out any side effects.

 

So while most of us are thrilled with spring being here, we need to remember that our pets might not be so happy if they’re being bugged by bugs!

Liz Explains Pet Adoption Process

February 18, 2011 - Leave a Response

Dear Liz: We went to Petco last weekend in the hopes of adopting a puppy from you that day. We were very disappointed to find out from you that we would not be able to take one home from the event and wondered why.

 

Signed: Sad in Somers

 

Dear Sad: It was my fault! I’m sorry I forgot to mention on air that no one would be able to take one home that day. Let me explain why.Bandit’s Place, like most animal rescues, has an adoption process that has to be gone through before anyone can take home a new friend. The first part in that process is an application that must be completed, returned and then processed. I can’t tell you what we look for because it changes with each pet we have. We have to do reference checks, possibly home checks, etc., and those can not be done at an adoption event.So while I was very happy to see the large attendance, I was also rather embarrassed that I had neglected to give that information on air last weekend.It was very nice meeting everyone and we do still have puppies left, so please feel free to contact us regarding adopting one of them!

Pet Insurance

August 20, 2010 - Leave a Response

Dear Liz; lately I’ve heard a lot about pet insurance.  Is this really a good thing?

Signed; Curious in Clinton.

Dear Curious;

Actually, it depends on the dog!  Some breeds, for instance, have more of a tendency to get certain types of disorders or illnesses.

If you have a breed with a deep chest, like a German Shepherd, Doberman, Bloodhound, etc., the likelihood of that dog having a gastric torsion (where the stomach flips) is more than, say, for a dog like a Beagle.

Certain breeds are known for eye issues or hip dysplasia, or even knee issues and for these I’d say it’s a good idea.  Surgeries for gastric torsions, etc., are extremely expensive so if the policy covers it, go for it.

If your breed is a general mutt and is in good health, I can’t say whether or not I’d go for it.  I guess it depends on how comfortable you are with it.
See what the different insurances cover.  If they cover strange, rare issues, I’d second guess getting it.  But if they cover common things like those stated above or even things like ingestion of a foreign object, I’d think about it.

Dogs (and cats) can get into some strange situations and can come down with some pretty costly illnesses. I would do a little comparison shopping before committing but pet insurance does seem to be the trend of the future as veterinary costs continue to climb.

Hope that helps?  It sure reminds ME to start looking at coverage!

Moving With Pets

July 23, 2010 - Leave a Response

Dear Liz – We’re moving next month but I’m not sure how to do this without stressing my pets out.  Got any suggestions?

Signed, Excited in Essex.

Dear Excited – Congratulations on the move!  My first thought is that depending on the age of the animals you have, you might want to do a few different things…

If your pets are younger and easily adapt to different situations, a move might not be an issue.  Just pack them up when the time is ready and get them to the new place.  You may, though, want to confine them to a single room while you’re getting everything into the new house so they don’t accidentally get out and run off in all the excitement.  Keep their things with them so they have something familiar to see and smell, to reduce any anxiety they may have.  Make SURE you have identification on them for the “just in case”.  This way, if they do run off, you have a way to get them back.

If your pets are older, it’s going to stress them out completely to move.  Try putting them into boarding or have them at a friend’s house while you actually move.  Keeping some of their things with them will help as well.  Toys, bedding, etc., can be comforting.

Set up a place for them at the new house.  Make sure everything is familiar to them and make sure the house is settled and quiet before you bring them home.  This MAY mean keeping them in boarding or at your friend’s home for up to a week, but it will be well worth it in the long run.  Bring them home only after the hustle and bustle is settled.

Once they’re in the new place, lavish them with attention as they may still be anxious.  If all your efforts don’t’ work and, say, your pet does not eat or return to a normal routine, contact your vet as some anti anxiety medication might be in order while your pet adjusts.

Have a wonderful time in your new place!

Stray Cats

July 14, 2010 - Leave a Response

Dear Liz – We live in an area with a population of stray cats.  We’ve been feeding them while trying to place them but no shelter wants them.  What do we do?

Signed, Strays in Seymour

Dear Seymour:  First, let me thank you for trying to help!  The stray cat population has exploded in CT, unfortunately.  I do have suggestions, though, that might help in the long run.

It is up to each, individual, town in the state to mandate whether or not their municipal animal shelters will accept stray cats.  Find out if your town does take them in.  If not, you might want to get a group going to try and change that!

Cats will always be dumped as they’re the “throw away” pets (along with flushing fish down the toilet), but if we mandate that each town has to take care of their cat population, it might elevate the status of cats (and goldfish!).

In the mean time, see if your neighborhood will get a fund together to spay / neuter the cat population there.  There are low cost spay & neuter clinics around that can help.  There are also groups who help with trapping these cats (if they’re feral) and getting them vaccinated as well.  If it’s just you and a stray cat that’s shown up on your doorstep, you can still use the advice listed here.

Look on www.Petfinder.com – Plug in that you’re looking for cats in CT.  Then call every shelter you can to see if they can take in at least one.  If they say they’re full (and most likely they are) get on a waiting list for intakes or call them every few days.  This will be a lot of work, but if it helps just one cat, it’s worth it!

Set up cat houses in the areas where the cats stay.  This will at least protect them from inclement weather.  Cat houses can be just dog houses (the plastic, Igloo type work great) that are set up, a bit off the ground.  You can find used ones in any local paper or on the internet.  Again, even if it’s just one cat that’s found its way to your house, setting up some kind of shelter for it would be great.

Report any sick looking cats!  Remember that Rabies is very prevalent in the state and cat populations are affected often.  If you see a stray cat acting in a strange manner, be sure to keep away from it and all the others as well.  Call your animal control officer right away.

Work with your animal control officer or cat rescue if they’re open to it.  They can have great resources to try and help.

If it sounds like I don’t have an immediate solution for you, you’re right.  I don’t.  The cat population has been ignored and allowed to boom in every state.  Unfortunately, there is not a quick fix in sight and each town has to decide how they want to handle this issue.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.